Perhaps the news that Robert Downey Jr. would be taking on the role of Perry Mason in a big screen reboot should have clued us in, but the announcement that Vince Vaughn is taking a stab at his very own cinematic adaptation of a classic television series that continues to live on in syndication (and in your grandparents’ living room) is still a bit of a surprise. Are there really no original ideas left?
Deadline Calabasas reports that Universal Pictures is currently developing a feature based on NBC’s 1974–80 series The Rockford Files that is shaped as a “star vehicle” for Vaughn, who will take on the role James Garner played in the original series. Screenwriters David Levien and Brian Koppelman will pen the feature, and there’s no word yet on possible directors. Koppelman and Levien are certainly having a great couple of days – their script Runner Runner got the green light from New Regency just last week, with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake to star in the film about offshore gambling.
In case you’re not familiar with the series, it featured Garner as slightly grizzled private investigator Jim Rockford, who was notable for his decidedly different way of doing things. Endlessly laidback, Rockford lived in a trailer near the Malibu beach, and he was much more adept at fast-talking his way out of sticky situations, versus having to use force or violence. Rockford also spent some time in San Quentin, so he also came with a backstory ripe for the telling. While it’s worth wondering why Universal doesn’t just develop a new P.I.-centric feature, Vaughn is certainly a good fit for the role, and he’ll likely be able to inject his own kind of smooth-talking schlubbiness into it.
NBC tried to relaunch the series for awhile now, but the project was stopped last year. Perhaps a successful feature could result in a newly-revitalized series, starring Vaughn?